Methodology of a Novel Virtual Phenomenology Interview Technique

Ronald M. Knorr, Stephen C. Bronack, Deborah M. Switzer, Lienne F. Medford


The use of virtual world technology as a social and communications medium is increasing dramatically. Virtual world-based interview environments are emerging as a tool that qualitative researchers may consider either to supplement or to replace traditional face-to-face interview settings. Guided by previous studies comparing computer-mediated communications to face-to-face interviews, this study explores the character and degree of interviewer influence on participants’ responses in virtual world versus traditional face-to-face environments. No significant difference in meaning units was found in the coded transcripts of virtual world environment interviews and face-to-face interviews. Results suggest virtual worlds may offer advantages over face-to-face interviewing in terms of efficiency, without sacrificing reliability, validity, or complexity. Study limitations and additional research topics are discussed.


Interview, Virtual Worlds, Phenomenology, Cultural-Historical Activity Theory.

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